Guest Post by George Hearn
Operations Manager/Agent, MRG of Georgia, LLC
After reading the title, you may be thinking, “Are you kidding me?” The health insurance industry has experienced radical changes over the past several years. Employers have experienced many frustrations and headaches as they adapted to rising costs and increased compliance regulations while seeking to maintain an adequate level of benefits for valued employees.
While challenges exist, some aspects of change are good. In the wake of skyrocketing costs, new products such as preventive health management and telemedicine have become available. When integrated into benefit plans, these innovations help manage the rising costs.
A proactive approach to health management educates employees and promotes healthy choices to reduce risks. Covering the basics, like proper diet and exercise, improves healthy outcomes. While employees’ engagement with these kinds of health management benefits haven’t reached desired levels, those who participate are seeing positive results . Employers who offer these programs are measuring decreases in the volume of claims. Positive employee experiences can also enhance the company image, with associated improvements to recruiting and employee retention efforts.
What about Telemedicine?
Telemedicine has been a major growth area the healthcare industry. According to a CrystalMarketResearch report published in August 2017, the global video telemedicine market is expected to reach around $3 billion by 2025.1.Data compiled by Statista projects the number of telehealth patients to reach 7 million in 2018, twenty times the number recorded in 2013.2
Here are a few reasons telemedicine is proving to be a valuable resource for all employers:
- Convenience – In many cases, employees are able to obtain access to a healthcare professional without the time consuming inconvenience of making appointments, traveling to healthcare facilities, and sitting in a waiting room.
- Accessibility – Telemedicine services are often accessible 24/7, regardless of location. This is especially beneficial in rural areas with limited facilities, during times outside of physician business hours, and for traveling employees who need assistance in unfamiliar areas.
- Cost Efficiency – While telemedicine isn’t applicable for all medical situations, it’s an effective option in many non-emergency situations. The avoidance of expensive trips to the ER can save thousands of dollars.
- Exposure – Utilizing telemedicine in non-emergency situations eliminates unnecessary waiting-room exposure to others who may have contagious diseases. After all, who wants to go to the doctor with a stomach ache and come away with the flu?
Reducing the number of claims produces a reduction in costs. For employers, lowering costs may not eliminate premium increases, but reduced costs and premiums afford increased flexibility for health insurance decisions. That can mean mean more and better options for your company and your employees.
GEA member MRG of GA, LLC offers a supplemental indemnity insurance product called the Proactive Health Management Plan. This plan provides preventive health management benefits for employees, telemedicine access with no co-pay, and additional benefits designed to save companies money. Contact MRG of GA at 470-655-1234.
Proactive Health Management will be a presentation topic at the upcoming GEA Spring Conference. Attendees will learn more about implementing Proactive Health Management Plans and have the opportunity to speak with MRG representatives.
1Video Telemedicine Market by Techonology and Application – Global Industry Analysis and Forecast to 2025, Crystal Market Research, August 2017.
2Projected number of Telehealth Patients Worldwide from 2013 to 2018, Statista Statistics Portal, 2018.
Photo Credit: Flickr, Frances1972